April 15, 2009
Franz Ferdinand: O-Town Life
For many San Francisco, Marin and Berkeley snobs, Oakland is often looked down upon as an unsophisticated, poor working class cousin, perhaps even a bit boorish. Nothing interesting happens there. Of course, Oakland looks down on Hayward and Fremont, further to the South. Everybody has somebody to look down on. Still, the drunken driver always has the right of way and Oakland rolls on. In fact, there are revitalization projects just being completed in many parts of Oakland and with its small town vibe, Oakland has become genuinely hip again. See, e.g., the reopening of the Fox Theater, an amazing venue with wonderful art deco touches that have many bands lining up for the chance to play there.
On Wednesday night, Franz Ferdinand played at the Fox Theater- across the street from the Uptown, where Green Day, at the same time, was playing another of their guerrilla shows announced earlier in the afternoon. The intersection of 19th and Broadway in Oakland was definitely the hippest place to be in the Bay Area on Wednesday night. Franz Ferdinand fans slipped in and out of the Den to smuggle drinks to their friends camped out on line for the Uptown. Even the high-end restaurant Flora got in the spirit by allowing scruffy Green Day fans to use their restroom. As the Brits might say, the atmosphere was lively.
As I had seen Green Day the night before, I was happy to give another band their due. Franz Ferdinand is a bouncy, raucous Indie band best known for their hit, “Take Me Out.” They have a unique sound which along with the singer’s baritone is immediately recognizable. Bands with such a signature sound can often suffer from the song-writing being overwhelmed by the sound. FF suffers from this drawback to a degree where songs sound too much alike. But, it has made FF a favorite of the mash-up scene and are frequently used by DJs to create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, FF is Big Fun, the loud thumping bass lines, rumbling drums, thick hooks and crescendos are like the peak moment of a party where you lose yourself and are engrossed in the reckless abandon of childhood fun.
Quite a sample of a night in the life of O-Town.
Other songs to check out: Ulysses, Mash of Do You Wanna with Run DMC and the Knack's My Sharona.